A green lifestyle has become increasingly important to Dave and I so, when we bought our new home, I researched the various energy supply options open to us. There's a good comparison table on greenelectricity.org which I found useful. We were excited to see how much renewable energy is created in Devon - fields of solar panels and the hydroelectric turbines at Totnes - and I wanted to be a part of this, albeit in a small way. Hinkley and fracking are definitely Not In My Name.
I eventually settled on Ecotricity as being the best supplier for us because they promise entirely green electricity and frack-free gas, they have a low rate of customer complaints, and their tariffs are both simple and reasonably priced. There's even an extra dual-fuel discount for taking both electricity and gas. Plus we're not tied into a long-term contract so, if we ever do decide to switch again, this should be straightforward. I like Ecotricity's ethos and how profits are used to invent and refine new sustainable ways to create energy. Their new 'seamills' technology was invented by a Devonian engineer!
My first contact at Ecotricity was with Mark on the Welcome Team who answered all my questions promptly and mostly accurately. Our home's previous owner had been with a different company so it would take a while to change over - Mark said three weeks, it turned out to be a month - but they could start the process before we took possession to speed things along. Our gas supply switched over promptly on the 2nd of August, a week after we had moved in. Our online account was set up so we could easily enter meter readings, keep track of our usage and, of course, pay our bill! The electricity switch was more long-winded and we're not exactly sure why. The supply itself did also switch over at the start of August, but our online account wasn't available until two months later and I chased up communication several times to find out what was (or wasn't!) going on. The problem, I think, was getting the old supplier to send their closing meter reading over and it was a purely administrative issue. Our power came from Ecotricity and they knew it would all work through in time, however we had no way of knowing this from the vague message displayed in our online account so I did get worried for a while. Once we got a reassuring email response from Emily on the Home Team, the process and delay made more sense. It's probably obvious for people dealing with this every day, but for me as a real newbie it would have been nice to be given more information up front.
Ecotricity also encourage homeowner power generation such as fitting solar panels and small wind turbines where possible. I'm still toying with the idea of getting a reverse-wired exercise bike to pump out power. Apparently Tour De France cyclists can generate up to 400W per hour. We're off to France again soon so I'll look out for one!
I hope discussing our experience of switching to green energy will encourage readers to consider their own choices. We are very pleased with Ecotricity which is why I am happy to recommend them to everyone. If I have convinced you to also make the switch, there is an extra sweetener too. Think of it as your reward for reading this far! Please make sure to quote my personal code RAFE-I2W6Y by phone, email or via the Ecotricity website and we will then both receive a £50 Ecotopia voucher when your sign-up is confirmed. Thank you!